Cypress Gardens: Florida’s 1st Tourist Attraction
After a year history in which it grew to become Florida’s most popular tourist destination, Cypress Gardens closed in September What happened? And why was it so popular? Jun 04, · Cypress Gardens was later sold to Anheuser-Busch in and would continue to operate it until April 1, , when a group of the park’s managers, led by Bill Reynolds, bought the property. The famed Florida-shaped pool which was featured in Esther Williams film “Easy to Love”.
Cypress Gardens was a botanical garden and theme park near Winter Haven, Florida that operated from to As ofthe botanical garden portion had been preserved inside the newly formed Legoland Florida. Billed as Florida's first commercial tourist theme park,  Cypress Gardens opened on January 2, as a botanical garden planted by Dick Floridda Sr.
Over the years it became one of the biggest attractions in Florida, known for its water ski showsgardens, and Southern Belles. It became known as the "Water Ski Capital of the World" because it was the site of many of the sport's landmark firsts and over 50 world records were broken there.
During World War IIsoldiers visited and waterskiing was introduced florrida their entertainment. During the American Civil War Centennial young men dressed in Confederate uniforms would be photographed with the Southern Belles.
In the early s a custom photography boat named Miss Whar Girl was introduced, and the park became a popular site for the filming of television commercials.
It was also the site of a Johnny Carson special. Competition for guests increased after Walt Disney World Resort opened nearby in In the what are the symptoms of passing kidney stones s, the Popes retired and transferred the park to their son, Dick Pope, Jr.
In book publisher Harcourt, Happener, Jovanovich purchased the park to build their SeaWorld parks group. Busch continued to operate Cypress Gardens until April 1,florkda a group of the park's managers, led by Bill Reynolds, bought the property.
Under President and CEO Reynolds, the park operated until April 13,when it closed after a prolonged tourism decline following the September 11,terrorist attacks. The purchase of the amusement park portion of the Cypress Gardens property was part of a larger conservation transaction. In that transaction, the entire acre 61 ha site was purchased from its previous owner, First Gardens, L.
Cypfess then sold a conservation easement over the entire property to the state of Florida, while Polk County purchased the acre 12 ha gardens portion of the property, less the development rights conveyed in the wbat easement. Adventure Parks Group purchased the balance of the property, also subject to the conservation easement. Buescher's plan to reopen the park in September was delayed by damage from hurricanes CharleyFrancesand Jeanne.
Cypress Gardens Adventure Park finally opened in November One of its new attractions, the Triple Cypeess roller coaster, was named for the tumultuous storm season. The adjacent Splash Island water park what happened to cypress gardens in florida inalong with the Galaxy Spin roller coaster. On Monday, November 10,Land South Holdings announced the temporary closure of the park, which was shut down November 17 of that year. It reopened on March 28,with an expanded water park named Splash Island.
The animals, however, were gone, and the rides did not operate or had already been removed. Cypress Gardens and Splash Island began separate ticketing, with dual-park season passes also available; parking was free. On September 23,owner Land South Holdings LLC announced that the park was closing immediately, saying that all avenues to keep the park open had been explored but that they were unable to find a way to "keep the park running in its traditional form". On January 15,the world's second largest theme park and attraction operator Merlin Entertainments bought Cypress Gardens  with intent to use the site for the fifth Legoland.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the Florida theme park. National Register of Historic Places. Jn article: Legoland Florida. National Register of Historic Places portal Florida portal.
April 25, What are the health benefits of drinking carrot juice from the original on April 26, Retrieved April 29, Retrieved World Digital Library.
Retrieved February 8, Retrieved July 3, Orlando Sentinel. Jacksonville [Florida] Business Journal. The Ledger. Retrieved June 4, September 23, Archived from the original on July 1, Retrieved September 24, Retrieved April 30, Archived from the original on September 8, Merlin Entertainments. Illawarra Fly Otway Fly. National How to make all your dreams come true of Historic Places in Florida.
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Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file. Download as PDF Printable version. Wikimedia Commons. Winter Haven, FloridaUnited States. January 2, Show map of Florida Show map of the United States. April 14, . Legoland Florida. A Zamperla kiddie coaster with small hairpin turns. A Vekoma junior roller coaster. It reopened in the new Legoland Florida as Dragon. A Vekoma Suspended Family Coaster. It reopened in the new Legoland Florida as Flying School.
It was named for the three hurricanes CharleyFrancesand Jeanne that struck the park in It reopened in what is the state pension retirement age new Legoland Florida as Coastersaurus. A classic Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters designed wooden coaster.
Miracle Strip closed in Zamperla Kite Flyer flat ride, riders are spun around while in a flying position. Zamperla Disk-O flat ride, riders spin around on a frisbee traversing a track.
Essential Cypress Gardens
While Cypress Gardens might not have been the biggest theme park in Central Florida, it certainly was one of the splashiest. This is how it happened. The Idea Behind Cypress Gardens Theme Park In the latter part of , Dick Pope, Sr. and his wife Julie decided to move back to Florida after living in New York for some time. On September 23, , Cypress Gardens and Splash Island Waterpark closed for business officially. The park, which celebrated the history of Florida and the historical garden located within the amusement park's acres went bankrupt. Once America's leading tourist destination, Cypress Gardens fell on hard times, and was ultimately closed. It's now been reopened and been given new life. Th.
Throughout the s and s, the answer would have been Cypress Gardens. But this website is Yesterland, so our story begins much earlier. And, the energy of that cyclone—and the bluster—was absorbed by Pope and drove him energetically through all his life. Born at the dawn of the new century, Pope came to Florida with his father at age 11 and honed his sales skills helping his dad sell real estate, closing his first deal at the age of He met and married his life partner, Julie Downing, in After the Florida real estate market went bust in , Pope needed a way to support his new wife.
Outboard motors were just coming into use and Dick had heard that one manufacturer was planning a publicity campaign. Your problem is solved. He staged death-defying boat races all over the state of Florida to publicize the introduction of the famous Johnson SeaHorse outboard motor.
He became so successful that he started his own public relations agency. His client list grew and he had elegant offices in the prestigious Tribune building in Chicago and the Graybar building in New York.
But Pope had been touting the Sunshine State for so long he had convinced himself that Florida was the only place to live. So, in the midst of the worst depression this country has ever suffered through, he and Julie decided to head back to the land of oranges. In the latter part of —while Florida was in the grip of the depression that followed the boom—he sold the WFERA—a branch of the WPA—on the idea that instead of having men raking leaves at a dollar a day, they could beautify and rebuild the canals and chain of lakes.
At that time, he was chairman of the canal commission for the Lake Region, so that the property was put in their name. Working side by side with the laborers in the muck, Pope began constructing his dream garden. Always a picture enthusiast, Pope set up an 8 by 10 view camera while laying out paths to be sure he could get good picture compositions with his plantings. If a big tree or lagoon appeared as an obstacle, he went around it with his walkways and besides, it cost money to build bridges and fill stump-holes.
Finally, on January 2, , the gates opened on what would become a showplace for 8, varieties of flowers from over 90 different countries. In , the first electric boats began gliding through the tropical canals. Electic boat ride through the manicured canals of the botanical garden photo. For instance, in , the vine on the cypress wall, the first thing a visitor sees when he arrives, became frozen and died—all the plants in the park were protected by smudge pots.
Besides, it was cold out, discouraging to a visitor. Twenty people drove up the first day and drove away again without going in. Pope called one of the girls. In fact, they quit seeing the dead vine. The gracious Southern Belles became a tradition that is an ongoing part of the beauty of the Gardens. The world famous water ski show had the same sort of beginning. In , while Pope was serving in World War II, one of the photos in a local newspaper featured water skiers being pulled by a boat at Cypress Gardens.
The next weekend, soldiers showed up, and the rest, as they say, is history. A hippo in the zoo section added to Cypress Gardens in the early s photo. In June , after almost a half-century of Pope family ownership and involvement, Cypress Gardens was sold to publishing conglomerate Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Back in the hands of local owners, Cypress Gardens attendance has since flourished with such new attractions as a spring light show, ice skating show, variety show and zoo.
And, in , the park added an authentic paddle wheel boat for sightseeing tours and romantic brunch and dinner cruises. The owners made a valiant effort to attract guests with new shows, seasonal events, and attention to the qualities and traditions that made the park famous in the first place.
There were no roller coasters or other stomach churning hardware typically found at theme parks. The Electric Boats provided a lovely way to see the botanical gardens.
A different boat went out into Lake Eloise, on whose shore the park sat. An unusual attraction called the Island in the Sky lifted dozens of guests at a time with a giant crane arm for a panoramic view of the park from above. The emphasis was on shows and exhibits. Wings of Wonder was a walk-in butterfly conservatory.
Cypress Junction was an unbelievably elaborate model train exhibit. There were seasonal floral exhibits that provided guests with new things to see all year long. At every turn there was something to see. Back in the s, the park had a Gator Show, a Duck Show in which ducks played musical instruments , and a Bird Show.
By the late s, performing animals gave way to an ice skating revue and a small circus with a genuinely clever and engaging clown. After years of declining attendance, the owners of Cypress Gardens announced that on Sunday, April 13, , the park would welcome guests for the last time. What would happen to Cypress Gardens now? At the very least, the original acre core of the park, including the botanical gardens, deserved to be saved for future generations. Maybe the core gardens would be saved as a public park by the state of Florida, but it seemed likely that the rest of real estate would give way to a more profitable use.
Then there seemed to be a happy ending. In addition to the famed botanical gardens and water ski show, the reopened park offered four roller coasters and dozens of other rides. The park struggled through the hurricanes, bankruptcy in , another ownership change in , and a temporary closure in to deemphasize rides in favor of water park attractions. Cypress Gardens failed to find a formula that generated enough turnstile clicks while keeping operating costs under control. The park shut down again in September The rumor was the confirmed as true in January There is far more to the new park than just the historic gardens and the new pirate-themed water ski show.
The new land even has a new sign. But on October 15, the Grand Opening day, the new sign welcomed guests to a very old part of the park—one that should gradually return to its former glory. All photos by Werner Weiss; year of photo as indicated in caption. Boat of Lake Eloise photo There were no roller coasters or other stomach churning hardware typically found at theme parks. The original botanical gardens at Cypress Gardens photo.
A Southern Belle at Cypress Gardens photo. The famous Cypress Gardens human pyramid photo. Amazing water ski ramp jumps at Cypress Gardens photo. Boat of Lake Eloise photo. The Gator Show at Cypress Gardens photo.